For years, we have found tremendous success with Nutri-Cycle as part of the Hefty Naturals product line. In research trials and crop fields, this blend of more than 25 beneficial strains of bacteria and fungi has shown a consistent improvement in nutrient uptake and emergence, and it is a key contributor to the performance of Hefty Complete Seed Treatment.
However, years of in-field testing and trials also revealed some additional opportunities beyond what Nutri-Cycle can do, especially in areas with high pH and other high-stress soil conditions.
WHAT DOES MICRO-CYCLE DO?
When we set out designing this product, we had two main goals in mind – releasing phosphorus that was tied up in high pH soils and increasing silica availability, which was a growing issue no one had really begun to address. As we sought out a solution for silica, we discovered the same active biological that we were examining for silica also helped improve potassium availability. We also observed the effects of heavy rains and standing water on soil microbial life – the best microbes for sulfur availability become in very, very short supply because they cannot survive in those conditions, and the sulfur cycle suffers as water saturation increases. By returning a sulfur-oxidizing biological to the soil, we can convert elemental sulfur into sulfate – for better plant absorption – and sulfuric acid, which lowers soil pH, making many other soil nutrients more available.
In the final product, Micro-Cycle became a solution that releases phosphorus and manganese in areas of high soil pH, and improves potassium, silica, and sulfur release across all environments. Micro-Cycle is an all-soils product, but different soils and soil types will see different benefits from the variety of components in the blend.
HOW DOES MICRO-CYCLE WORK?
Micro-Cycle contains six solubilizing agents – three for phosphorus, one for sulfur, one for manganese, and one for silica that also happens to show some activity on potassium availability. These microbes have different modes of action to solubilize and release nutrients tied up in the soil. Some accomplish this through an enzymatic process, while others create strong acids that break down and release soil nutrients. This entire process is a result of the natural process of microbial feeding. The microbes we selected for Micro-Cycle thrive by extracting and ingesting these targeted nutrients from the soil. As they propagate and eventually die off, the extracted nutrients are concentrated in their remains in a form roots can find and easily take in for plant use.
Because of the unique microbial blend present in Micro-Cycle, the preferred application method is to apply it with your pop-up fertilizer, placing it close to the seed. It is compatible with both fertilizer and water. If you’re mixing with water, please consider using water conditioning products like Water-Rite (neutralizes calcium, copper, magnesium, and iron) and Bio-Prep (neutralizes chlorine) to improve the viability of the microbes. Micro-Cycle can also be applied foliar, but the best efficacy would be in-furrow to get the best early response for the plant. Micro-Cycle can be used for any crop and all cropping types. The product comes in a dry bag, remains stable for many years in its formulation, is simple to work with, and has a small per-acre use rate.
COST & ROI
A full rate of Micro-Cycle costs roughly $6 per acre. Typical observations show a yield increase of 8 bushels per acre in corn and 4 to 5 bushels of soybeans compared to untreated, providing a good return on investment by itself. However, the effectiveness of Micro-Cycle seems to be increased when combined with Nutri-Cycle because the two products synergize to provide a more balanced supply of fertility. Using Nutri-Cycle with Micro-Cycle shows a 12 to 13 bushel improvement in corn compared to corn treated with Nutri-Cycle alone.
We are always looking for ways to make nutrients more available for plants, and Micro-Cycle is just one piece of the continually evolving portfolio of Hefty Naturals. To see how this can improve the nutrient availability on your ground, contact your local Hefty agronomist for more information.